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BCC Ruling No. 95-55-475

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-55-475

IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24(1) of the Building Code Act, 1992.

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.1.11.2.(1) and (2) of the Revised Regulation of Ontario 1990, Regulation 61, as amended by O.Regs. 400/91, 158/93, 160/93, 355/94 and 20/95 (the "Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. A. Braekevelt, Superintendent of Operations, Lambton County Roman Catholic Separate School Board for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Jacques Skutt, Chief Building Official, City of Sarnia, concerning whether the proposed exterior cavity wall construction details will provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.1.11.2.(1) and (2) [firestopping wall assemblies] of the Building Code, at St. Francois Xavier Secondary School, 901 Rapids Parkway, Sarnia, St. Anne Elementary School, 1000 Rapids Parkway, Sarnia and St. Christopher Secondary School, 1001 Rapids Parkway, Sarnia, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Lambton County Roman Catholic
Separate School Board
Sarnia, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Jacques Skutt
Chief Building Official
City of Sarnia

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Demir Delen
Mr. Rick Florio

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

November 14th, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. David Syrett
Leber/Rubes Inc.
Sarnia, Ontario
AND
Mr. Douglas Snyder
Mekinda Snyder
Partnership Inc.
Oakville, Ontario
For the Applicant

Mr. Jacques Skutt
Chief Building Official
City of Sarnia
AND
Ms. Valerie M'Garry
Solicitor
City of Sarnia
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. A. Braekevelt, Lambton County Roman Catholic Separate School Board is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct three new school buildings, as follows:

    • St. Francois Xavier Secondary School, 901 Rapids Parkway, Sarnia;
    • St. Anne Elementary School, 1000 Rapids Parkway, Sarnia; and,
    • St. Christopher Secondary school, 1001 Rapids Parkway, Sarnia.

  1. Description of Constrution

The following applies to the school buildings being constructed by the Lambton County Roman Catholic Separate School Board:

St. Francois Xavier Secondary School

two storey


32,65
9 m²

St. Anne Elementary School

one storey


32,37
6 m²

St. Christopher Secondary School

two storey


58,68
0 m²

The subject schools will be sprinklered and of noncombustible construction. Each building will have a fire alarm and detection system.

The exterior wall construction includes the following, starting from the interior of the building:

  • concrete masonry
  • sprayed polyurethane insulation (flame spread rating greater than 25)
  • air space ranging 25 mm - 40 mm
  • face brick

The exterior wall cavity is not firestopped.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentences 3.1.11.2.(1) and (2) of the Building Code. At issue is whether the construction of the proposed exterior cavity wall requires firestopping.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentences 3.1.11.2.(1) and (2) Fire Stopping in Wall Assemblies

  1. Except as permitted in Sentence (2), fire stops conforming to Article 3.1.11.7. shall be provided to block off concealed spaces within a wall assembly

    1. at every floor level,
    2. at every ceiling level where the ceiling forms part of an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating, and
    3. so that the maximum horizontal dimension is not more than 20 m (65 ft 7 in) and the maximum vertical dimension is not more 3 m (9 ft 10 in).

  1. Fire stops conforming to Sentence (1) are not required provided

    1. the wall space is filled with insulation,
    2. the exposed construction materials and any insulation within the wall space are noncombustible, or
    3. the exposed construction materials and any insulation within the wall space have a flame-spread rating of not more than 25 on any exposed surface or on any surface that would be exposed by cutting through the material in any direction and fire stops are installed so that the vertical distance between them does not exceed 10 m (32 ft 10 in).

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that sprayed polyurethane insulation with a flame-spread rating of more than 25 is proposed for the wall cavity between the concrete masonry and exterior face brick. No firestopping of the exterior wall cavity is intended. The Applicant submitted that the proposed exterior wall assembly can be considered to provide sufficiency of compliance with the provision to firestop the concealed space between the insulation and the face brick on the basis that:

    1. The concrete masonry wall can be considered the exterior wall assembly with the insulation, air space and exterior face brick considered cladding only.

    1. The fire cannot spread from floor to floor through the wall cavity since there is a continuous, unpenetrated concrete block wall.

    1. Firestopping of the cavity would defeat the purpose of the rain screen principle which is not the intent of the Building Code.

    1. Building Code Commission Decision #88-6-217 for the cavity wall designed in accordance with the rain screen principle was that firestopping of the wall cavity is not required or intended by the Building Code.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that Subsection 3.11.2. of the Building Code clearly requires that concealed spaces within a wall assembly that contains a material with a flame spread rating greater that 25 be firestopped.

The Respondent further submitted that based on the nature of the occupancy, the toxicity of the proposed insulation in a fire condition and its flame spread rating characteristics, it would be inappropriate to waive the firestopping requirements.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed exterior cavity wall construction details do not provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.1.11.2.(1)&(2) of the Building Code for fire stopping in cavity wall assemblies.

  1. Reasons:

i. Products are available with flame spread ratings of 25 that will satisfy the provisions of the Building Code which do not impact on the rain screen principle.

ii. The cavity air space in the wall detail exceeds 25 mm in dimension.

iii. No test data was presented concerning fire spread for combustible insulation in wall cavities having an air space exceeding 25 mm in dimension.

Dated at Toronto, this 14th day, in the month of November, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-61.

Roy Philippe

Demir Delen

Rick Florio